Yorkshire Pudd team Chris Blackburn and Claire Smith tell us how they’re spending Christmas Day and why Christmas dinner is better spent eating in or out.

Chris Blackburn

Claire Smith

There are a few things that are pretty much guaranteed for most families on Christmas Day – presents and Christmas dinner. But how we are going about those age-old traditions are changing, with many people opting to eat out for various reasons.

Our Yorkshire Pudd team Chris Blackburn and Claire Smith are spending their Christmas Days with their respective families in different ways. Claire will be at home hosting seven family members for a traditional turkey with the trimmings while Chris decides to leave it to the professionals this year. But which way is best?

Where will you be spending your Christmas Day and with whom?
Claire: At home, with my husband and 23-month-old son, mum, dad, brother and uncle.
Chris: This year we’re dining out and 13 of my nearest and dearest family members are heading to The Milestone in the beautiful village of Ripponden in West Yorkshire.

What will be the order of the day?
Claire: We will wake up and open some presents before realising the time and getting a cooked breakfast on with some bucks fizz. Then we’ll rush to get ready, go and see my grandma and come back to start on Christmas dinner. In the process, we’ll have Christmas music on, toys being played with and put together, drinking and general merriment as my husband clucks over his turkey! Afterwards we’ll retire to watch a film or Christmas TV, drink more and finish off our present opening. Someone, inevitably, will fall asleep on the sofa and snore loudly.
Chris: We need to hit it hard this year because it’s the last year our household will only include the two of us. Yep, you guessed it, we have a bambino on the way, so I need to make sure I drink for two. Wifey will play role of taxi driver and we’ll start by heading to my cousin’s house for pre-dinner drinks before heading off to the restaurant. In the evening it’ll be party games back at our house with the family and we’ll eat and get very merry. (I am so going to read this back in 12 months and see how things have changed!)

What will you eat?
Claire: Our Christmas dinner is totally traditional. We’ll start with a prawn cocktail and salmon mousse, followed by a free-range turkey from a local farm and all the trimmings, including homemade stuffing and plenty of cranberry sauce. We’ll try and fit in Christmas pudding or sticky toffee pudding and cheese – which may take a few hours to emerge.
Chris: Erm Claire, where are the Yorkshire puddings?! Anyway back to me. Nothing traditional on my plate this year. I have pre-ordered dim sum, followed by fillet of beef and finished off with chocolate chilli torte. Who needs tradition?!
Claire: Uh-oh. I’ve been caught out. No Yorkshires for us, but only because there’ll be no room in the oven!

Why have you chosen your style of festive feast?
Claire: For us home is where the heart is at Christmas and now we live in a big enough house to invite everyone we don’t really have any excuses!
Chris: To be honest I’m with Claire on this one, but this year we need to relieve some of the pressure’s associated with the big feast. My wife is six months pregnant and although we could have cooked for the two of us, what’s important at this time of year is being with family so the best choice all around was to dine out!

What are the positives about doing it your way?
Claire: Now we have a little one it’s better that he’ll be around his toys, be able to run around freely and have a nap when it all gets too much. It also means we can stretch out cooking and eating over the day and relax and just enjoy the feeling of Christmas. Plus, no driving for anyone!
Chris: We have nothing to worry about, no heading off to the farm shop or supermarket last minute, no planning weeks ahead of how many varieties of potato we are going to have and certainly no emergency chairs in sight. Stress free will be the order of the day!

What are the negatives?
Claire: Definitely the washing up! We’re all pretty good at mucking in though, which I know might not happen in some households. Also, it is a lot of work to plan everything, from ingredients to tableware to timings to cooking. The cost is no small factor, either.
Chris: Clothes and cost. I cannot tell you how tempted I am to turn up at the restaurant in my Christmas onsie. I’d feel so much more comfortable! I already dread the feeling of being bloated but at £60 per head (which is very reasonable for Christmas day) I’ll be eating every last scrap of food that is put in front of me!

What are you looking forward to the most?
Claire: Definitely seeing my son’s face when he sees his presents as he didn’t have a clue what was happening last year. In fact, everyone’s faces at their presents. And bopping to Christmas songs while we drink fizz and prepare dinner.
Chris: Oh my days, Claire bopping to Christmas songs with bucks fizz in her hand – that I have to see! For me it’s seeing family. Regular readers of the blog will know that 2013 has been a very busy year, with filming schedules, appearances, baby scans and spending at least half of the year in the south of England working, I have very little time to get around everybody that really matters to me, so that’s what’s really important!


  • A fifth of Brits don’t cook their first Christmas dinner until their 30th birthday
  • Over the festive period the nation will gorge on enough cheese to reach the Earth’s core
  • Almost one in three people (31 per cent) only buy discounted food for their festive meals, while 57 per cent admit to spending more than normal on Christmas food.
  • More than a third (34 per cent) of festive cooks will cheat on Christmas Day by using ready-made stuffing, 12 per cent will make their job easier by using frozen roast potatoes, 19 per cent will use packet sauce, 37 per cent will resort to instant gravy and 25 per cent will cook frozen vegetables.

Findings from The One Poll survey of 2,000 Brits.